Indoor farming company investing $300 million in Chesterfield

The project will bring 300 full-time jobs to the county over 6 years
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 10:36 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2022 at 6:42 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - The “world’s largest indoor vertical farming campus” is coming to Chesterfield County.

Alongside county and state leaders Wednesday morning, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced that California-based Plenty Unlimited Inc. is investing $300 million in the county’s Meadowville Technology Park for the project. It is expected to bring 300 full-time jobs over the next six years.

“The largest investment that has ever been made in vertical farming, which will be right here in Chesterfield County, puts Virginia clearly in the leadership position in this next-gen ag tech world,” said Youngkin at the podium.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin announces that Plenty Unlimited is investing $300 million in Chesterfield...
Gov. Glenn Youngkin announces that Plenty Unlimited is investing $300 million in Chesterfield County and will bring 300 full-time jobs to the county over six years.(WWBT)

Plenty’s farm campus will feature the company’s 200 patent assets to efficiently and sustainably grow to produce year-round, including 30-foot grow towers.

“On this site, about 110 acres in total, we’ll have the capacity to produce about 20 million of our fruit and produce vegetables on an annual basis,” said Arama Kukutai, CEO of Plenty Unlimited Inc.

Gov. Youngkin’s office said Virginia competed with five other states for the project. When Virginia was chosen as the place for the project, Youngkin said there were several reasons officials chose Meadowville Technology Park as the site for the farm campus, including the location.

Plenty set up a rendering of a berry farm they plan to build as part of their indoor vertical...
Plenty set up a rendering of a berry farm they plan to build as part of their indoor vertical farming campus.(Source;Plenty | Plenty)

“We’re at the crossroads of transportation, and to have access to 100 million customers within a 24-hour transportation period really matters,” Youngkin said.

Plenty said this farm campus would allow the company to expand its production beyond the West Coast to bring its produce to the East Coast year-round.

A Plenty facility in California.
A Plenty facility in California.(Source;Plenty | Plenty)

Gov. Youngkin believes this will bolster food sustainability in the future.

“The more certainty that we can put into that agriculture supply chain and, oh, by the way, to do it where there’s higher yields and a far more sustainable process where there’s a lower use of inputs that is just a key component of agriculture of the future,” he said.

According to Gov. Youngkin’s Office, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Chesterfield County, the Greater Richmond Partnership, and Dominion Energy to get this project to Virginia. Gov. Youngkin approved a $2.4 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund and a $500,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to help secure this spot, per a release.

Driscoll's berry farm will be completed by winter 2023-24 and will grow strawberries.
Driscoll's berry farm will be completed by winter 2023-24 and will grow strawberries.(Photo: Plenty Unlimited Inc.)

Plenty will complete the project in multiple phases over six years, with the first farm - vertically farmed strawberries - completed by winter 2023-24. Over time, Plenty hopes to expand its operations on the campus to grow more crops for greens and tomatoes.

“This is a site where technology and traditional agriculture are coming together to help rewrite the rules of agriculture in the 21st century,” said Kukutai.